US HRC market holds its course despite increase announcements
This week California Steel Industries (CSI) and Nucor Sheet Mill Group announced they would be raising all US domestic flat rolled steel prices, including prices for HRC, by a minimum of $1.25 cwt. ($28/mt or $25/nt), effective immediately; customers, however, are not convinced the mills will succeed in pushing prices higher due to short lead times and tepid market activity.
As such, most commonly heard spot price transaction range for US domestic hot rolled coil (HRC) is unchanged since our last report a week ago, at $29.50-$31.50 cwt. ($650-$694/mt or $590-$630/nt), ex-mill. Buyers say they’re still reluctant to book any significant tons with US domestic mills due to the market uncertainty regarding the Section 232 investigation.
The move to potentially implement steel import tariffs for national security reasons continues to draw scrutiny from the nation’s key trading partners.
The last time the US imposed steel tariffs was in 2002, under the direction of former US President George Bush. The substantial 30 percent tariff was eventually petitioned to the World Trade Organization; the US was eventually forced to back down, but not before an estimated 200,000 US manufacturing workers lost their jobs as a result.